When we think of magic, we usually envision the age old image of a stage magician pulling a rabbit out of a hat. This illusionist or conjurer is seen in many forms through out our world. His hands are always quicker than our eyes and they never reveal the secrets of their trade.
Such images provide respite or escape from a world that on the surface seems stable and predictable. In another sense, perhaps on a deeper level, these figures allow us to fantasize about the changes we would implement in our lives if only it were humanly possible.
Webster’s dictionary defines magic as: “a comprehensive name for all of the pretended arts which claim to produce effects by the assistance of supernatural beings, or departed spirits or by a mastery of secret forces in nature attained by a study of occult science, including enchantment, conjuration, witchcraft, sorcery, necromancy, incantation, etc. “
Any action which produces a change in the environment can be said to be an act of magick, however from the definition above we can see that spiritual and secret forces are being alluded to; forces which when tapped, as in the case of casting a spell, can cause desired changes to come into effect.
The term “occult science,” mentioned in the definition is used to describe a wide array of methodologies used by people to connect them with arcane spiritual forces. The purposeful application of candles, color, incense, plants, stones or any apparatus towards a specific spiritual goal are examples of occult science.
The term occult in the most basic terms refers to secret knowledge as well as secret forces which can be used to cause desired changes in the physical world.
A British occultist by the name of Aleister Crowley defined magick as: “the science and art of causing change to occur in conformity with the will.” It is also Crowley who was reputed to be the first who used the spelling magick, rather than magic in his work in order to differentiate it from the magic of the stage illusionist, as well as the type of magic found in works of fiction.
It was Crowley’s view that all acts of will, no matter what they happen to be are in fact acts of magick. The scientific aspect of his definition therefore sets up a premise that there is some formulaic way that can be applied to cause real change in our environment, and that this change will conform to the way we have willed or desired it to be. Basically, our desires can become our reality.
Like Crowley I also believe that the will is the major component to cause change in our lives. The best example that comes to my mind in regards to the use of the will to produce desired changes is within the area of work and career.
Though most of us mere mortals work out of necessity, the power of the will plays just as significant a role within the realm of gainful employment.
For me, the need to survive and maintain my desired lifestyle has overridden my temptation to stay in bed and pamper myself with facials all day!
Although I have to work it still takes a decision on my part to make it so. Magick teaches that nothing in the universe happens without the application of will.
The will of the universe can be summed up in the expression: “to be.” The nature of the universe in its entirety may be a mystery but we can observe the universe’s will to thrive through paying close attention to nature and the passing of the seasons.
It is believed that nature takes this premise further, and that the universe has a will that is being acted out in every moment with out ceasing. The will of nature is not a secret because we are part of nature and part of the divine plan simply by being here. Just by being created in the first place we have fulfilled our original purpose.
The main tenet of magick is that if we are part of nature and like nature in every way. Within us is the power to create in a multitude of ways, not merely limited to the reproduction of our species. Our desires, just like the rhythms of the universe, have the potential to become reality.
You may have noticed during my explanation of magick that I avoided the term God, or Goddess. I did this not because I don’t believe in a higher power, only because it has been done already when nature’s will was mentioned. There are countless literary works that have for their objective the inquiry into the nature of deity.
I have my personal views regarding deity which I will later discuss, but at this time I find it imperative to highlight the aspect of spirituality that is usually glossed over entirely: the core of your being.